Did you know that our skeleton consists of more than 200 bones? Not only do they provide structural support, but they also protect our organs and allow us to move. Without them, we’d just be a blob of water-filled tissues! As rigid as they may be, however, they can break. For example, it’s not uncommon for workers’ comp injuries or car accidents to result in a broken bone.
The good news? It can heal. Chances are, though, you’ll need to get it looked at, and treated, by a doctor.
Want to know what some of the treatment options are? If so, you’re on the right page. Keep reading to learn more about the different ways workers comp doctors treat a broken bone!
A bone fracture, also known as a broken bone, occurs when a force stronger than the bone itself is exerted against the bone. Common causes of this orthopedic injury include auto accident trauma and falls. Repetitive forces such as those caused by running can, or work-related injuries, also lead to fractures.
This disturbs the bone’s structure, which leads to pain, bleeding, and loss of function. As a result, medical care will be necessary.
There are various types of bone fractures. For example, the skin may be open or closed, the former of which increases the risk of infection.
Some may also be displaced, which means that there’s a space between the two ends of the bone. Generally speaking, those cases will require surgery.
In addition to that, there are partial fractures (incomplete break), complete fractures (bone is separated into more than two pieces), and stress fractures (crack-like fractures).
Symptoms will vary depending on which bone is affected. With that said, most will experience pain, swelling, and bruising. There may also be bleeding if it’s an open fracture.
Dizziness or nausea may occur as well if it involves a large bone such as the femur or pelvis.
A doctor will begin with a physical examination. They may also ask about the circumstances surrounding the injury.
From there, they’ll likely order an X-ray, which will allow them to see the extent of the fracture. MRI or CT scans may also be necessary in some cases.
Bone healing is a natural process. In other words, the fracture will heal on its own.
However, treatment will be necessary to make sure that it’s done correctly. The last thing that you want is for your bone to heal in the wrong position!
Improperly healed bones are often painful. There’s also a chance that it can hinder your ability to move. Generally speaking, this happens if the two ends of the bone are not lined up correctly.
Other complications include blood poisoning, chronic pain, and bone deterioration. That’s why it’s so important to see a doctor right away if you suspect that you’ve broken a bone!
There are multiple ways to treat a broken bone. At the end of the day, it depends on the severity of the fracture.
Orthopedic surgery will not be necessary if the bones are already aligned (your doctors will be able to tell with an x-ray). What they’ll do instead is hold it in position with a plaster cast or splint.
That will keep the bones in place during the healing process. Not only that, but it’ll protect and support the area.
The worker’s comp orthopedic doctor will have to reposition the bone fragments if they are out of place. This is usually done with special implants such as nails, screws, plates, and wires.
Made from titanium and stainless steel, these implants are compatible with the body and almost never cause an allergic reaction.
Depending on the situation, they may be left in place after recovery or they may be taken out.
A bone graft may be necessary if the bone fracture is complex. This involves transplanting bone tissue from a different part of the body to the trauma area.
If accepted by the body, it’ll provide a framework for new bone to grow. In doing so, it’ll fill in the gaps and provide structural stability.
Ultrasound therapy is an option for fractures that fail to heal. A relatively new technique, it involves the application of low-intensity ultrasound to the affected area.
Researchers believe that this helps to remove bacteria and debris from the site of the wound, which promotes healing. In addition to that, it can stimulate the bone marrow to produce more bone cells.
At this point, however, more studies are needed to determine its efficacy.
Recent studies have shown that stem cell therapy may be successful in treating nonhealing bones. It involves implanting a collagen matrix into the stem cells—one that’s made up of bone-inducing genes.
This will recruit stem cells to the injury site so that they can regenerate the bone. While the technique is still in the initial stages, it has shown much promise so far.
Hopefully, that gives you a better idea as to how to treat a broken bone. As you can see, there are various things that your injury doctor can do to fix the fracture.
Looking for a workers’ orthopedic doctor near you in the New York area? Call 1-800-897-8440 or contact us via our site to make an appointment!
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